All posts tagged: Astras

Ursa Major to provide engines for the upper stage of Astra’s new rocket

Ursa Major to provide engines for the upper stage of Astra’s new rocket

Astra’s new Rocket 4 launch vehicle will use Ursa Major’s Hadley liquid engine to power its upper stage, the two companies announced Monday. Astra has been tight-lipped about the new upper stage engine that would power its new Rocket 4, with CEO Chris Kemp only telling investors last year that the rocket’s substantially increased payload capacity was thanks in part to engine upgrades. Outsourcing the engine helps clarify how Astra was able to so quickly pivot its plans for Rocket 4, including doubling the launch vehicle’s payload capacity from 300 kilograms to 600 kilograms. Rocket 4 marks a major deviation for Astra, which has historically focused on extremely lightweight, high cadence rockets. After a series of launch failures and in response to customer input, the company said it would go in a decidedly different direction. When Astra announced the change last August, Kemp said the company was especially keen to target mega constellation operators with its higher capacity system. Astra plans on conducting initial test launches later this year. Whether the company resumes commercial launch …